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Corbin Design Helps People Find their Way in Museums

TRAVERSE CITY, MICH.- “Where do we go from here?” It’s a question everyone asks – and it has a number of answers. If it’s a location you’re looking for, GPS, smart phones and OnStar will get you to the site – but even then, the question remains: “where do we go from here?” The solution is actually quite simple: it’s called wayfinding – and museums are turning to Corbin Design to help people get where they need to go.

“Wayfinding is direction for people in motion,” said Mark VanderKlipp, Corbin Design president. “It’s far more than just signage and maps – wayfinding ties together verbal and visual cues during a visitor’s journey, using signage of course, but also through architecture, interiors, lighting and landscape design. It considers a visitor’s state of mind, and creates tools to support a variety of navigation preferences.”
While studies show that a sense of direction is instinctive, those same studies reveal that it’s an instinct many people can’t rely on. That’s why making it easy for visitors to find their way through a museum is paramount.

“Despite the tough economy, people still need to easily find their destinations,” said VanderKlipp. “And empowered visitors, who feel competent and confident in an environment, tell better stories about their experiences. This leads to return visits and increased revenue. Our clients understand the value of this – and at Corbin, we make it a priority to be good stewards of their time and their budgets. It shows in the work we do – and the product we deliver.”

At the Toledo Museum of Art’s Glass Pavilion, the building’s Pritzker Prize-winning design – of clear glass walls creating an environment flooded with light – created an aura that could, at times, disorient some guests. Corbin has been enlisted to design a wayfinding system that embraces the architecture, while at the same time directing visitors, recognizing donors and telling the story of Toledo’s glassmaking history.

“Our relationship with Corbin Design involves a bit of serendipity,” said Kelly Garrow, Director of Communications at TMA. “We were introduced to the firm’s work by a mutual vendor just at the time we were contemplating a wayfinding project at the Glass Pavilion. Corbin’s expertise was a perfect fit for our project and we appreciated their collaborative manner. They are great listeners and have done a stellar job of evaluating our needs to craft a unique solution.”

People get lost. We fix that.
Corbin Design has been helping people find their way since 1976. The Traverse City, Mich.-based graphic design firm is a leader in wayfinding and environmental graphic design, working with clients around the country to improve the way people access places and information. Corbin’s team of designers and project managers have completed hundreds of projects throughout North America in the fields of wayfinding analysis and signage system design for more than 50 cities and towns, 70 medical centers, 25 colleges and universities, and several resorts and entertainment venues, corporate campuses and facilities and retail outlets in both the built environment and on the web. Several Corbin staffers are active members of the Society for Environmental Graphic Design; company president Mark VanderKlipp currently serves on the national board. Corbin is the proud recipient of numerous wayfinding awards, in addition to being featured in publications including Architectural Record, Healthcare Design, Identity and Nation’s Cities Weekly.

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